Limpopo municipality part ways with VBS-linked official

After 19 months suspended on pay, council made a settlement with official to ensure her departure


The Elias Motsoaledi local municipality in Limpopo has finally managed to part ways with its municipal manager, who has been suspended with pay for 19 months. The municipality made a settlement with Minah Maredi during a special council virtual meeting on Saturday last week. Maredi was suspended in November 2018 for misconduct after she was accused of misleading the council to invest R40 million into VBS Mutual Bank, which has since collapsed. In terms of the agreement between Maredi and the council, the latter would withdraw all charges of misconduct against her. She must resign within five days of being…

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The Elias Motsoaledi local municipality in Limpopo has finally managed to part ways with its municipal manager, who has been suspended with pay for 19 months. The municipality made a settlement with Minah Maredi during a special council virtual meeting on Saturday last week.

Maredi was suspended in November 2018 for misconduct after she was accused of misleading the council to invest R40 million into VBS Mutual Bank, which has since collapsed. In terms of the agreement between Maredi and the council, the latter would withdraw all charges of misconduct against her.

She must resign within five days of being notified of the council resolution and mayor Julia Mathebe must provide her with a positive letter of reference. In addition, each party would bear its own costs with regard to the disciplinary inquiry. This is a full and final settlement between the two parties and neither party would have any claim against the other.

Also read: VBS-linked official earns R100K a month on suspension. Wants R3m more to quit

Maredi would also receive 12 months’ salary as per her five year contract. The council has spent R289 669.34 on the acting allowance for the acting municipal manager, R1 780 959.96 on the salary of the suspended municipal manager and R1 127 874.93 on the attorneys attending to the case.

The costs incurred might have increased as no updates have been provided since December last year. However, the decision to make a settlement with Maredi was sharply criticised by the Bolsheviks Party and the Democratic Alliance (DA).

“The ANC is in majority in council. You know what they say, if you can’t fight them, join them,” said Bolsheviks Party acting secretary-general Seun Mogotji yesterday.

“We are disappointed though about one part of the agreement – that Maredi must be provided with a positive letter of reference.

“We have suspended this woman in a well-constituted council sitting. We further charged her with misconduct, and as if that was not enough, we spent R1.1 million on legal fees to fight her. We feel that giving her a positive reference is tantamount to saying she was innocent.

“This will also mean we condone her actions to wrongfully invest public funds into VBS.”

DA councillor in the municipality, Chipane Norman Mathebe, said the illegal investment of the money was proof enough that the mayor was an accessory to crime because Maredi obviously got the go-ahead from her.

“We should be parting ways not only with Maredi, but also with Mathebe,” he said.

Yesterday, the acting municipal manager, Mishack Kgwale, confirmed a settlement had been made with Maredi. Kgwale said the decision was well-informed and cost-saving. His words were echoed by Mathebe, who said the matter had dragged on for so long that an urgent decision was necessary to save more expenditure of public money.

– alexm@citizen.co.za

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